Rosenthal On Red Sox, Butler, Rangers, Angels

Some say that the big-money closer is becoming extinct, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports argues that reports of the species' demise might be premature since the supply is overwhelming demand this offseason, depressing some free agent prices.  While Grant Balfour's two-year, $15MM was surprisingly low to some, Joe Nathan netted a two-year, $20MM deal at age 39.  Here's more from Rosenthal's latest column..

  • A trade remains possible for the Red Sox, who are checking in with teams that need starters, sources say.  Jake Peavy and Ryan Dempster appear the most expendable, but the Sox could get a bigger return if they moved John Lackey or Felix Doubront.
  • The Royals seem unlikely to trade designated hitter Billy Butler or any of their relievers after signing free-agent second baseman Omar Infante.  Royals GM Dayton Moore wants to pounce after adding Infante, left-hander Jason Vargas and outfielder Norichika Aoki and would love a shot at re-signing free agent Ervin Santana if his market somehow collapses.
  • The Rangers do not appear seriously involved in trade discussions for Rays ace David Price at the moment.  If they strike out on Shin-Soo Choo, Masahiro Tanaka, and Price, they simply would preserve their prospects and financial resources for later moves.
  • The Angels seem to be holding off on a DH like as Raul Ibanez until they know how much they will spend on a pitcher. That pitcher could be right-hander Matt Garza as they have heavy interest in him, sources say.  That pitcher could also be Tanaka.
  • The Rockies got more trade inquiries on Jordan Lyles than any player at the winter meetings and Brandon Barnes was a popular target, too, according to a source.


Leave a Reply

41 Comments on "Rosenthal On Red Sox, Butler, Rangers, Angels"


skrockij89
1 year 7 months ago

O’s got a steal for Balfour. I’m surprised no one gave him 3 years and more money honestly.

John Donovan
1 year 7 months ago

These are the Rockies, they’ll never trade anyone when they are wanted. They will wait a few years for their value to go down to nearly nothing and THEN trade them.

Vinnie White
1 year 7 months ago

I’d normally agree, however if these two can help, we have to let them play. If they had traded them so soon after getting them for Dexter, there would have been mutiny. If the interest is there, then I want to see why.

John Donovan
1 year 7 months ago

It depends on what the return would have been. I mean Barnes is not exactly a need and Lyles is probably going to be a AAA starter. If one of them could have brought back a top notch reliever and/or a good back up defensive catcher then I would have been thrilled.

Karkat
1 year 7 months ago

If the Sox trade a starter, I want something actually equal in value in return. There’s no NEED to trade a starter. A rotation of Lester/Buch/Lackey/Peavy/Doubront with Dempster and Workman in the pen is a FINE arrangement.

RC23
1 year 7 months ago

12.5M (Dempster’s salary I believe) is a lot to be tied up in the pen as a long man.

Karkat
1 year 7 months ago

And Doubront is inexpensive. It averages out.

ea19
1 year 7 months ago

Even so…..7 mil for a long reliever is NOT AVERAGE, but if they have the resources..why not?? They need to be patient and get the best value when these starters are needed the most, which could be before the season starts or at the deadline

RC23
1 year 7 months ago

why does it need to average out? Why can’t they have a solid inexpensive starter in Doubront and payroll flexibility (with Dempster traded)?

Karkat
1 year 7 months ago

It doesn’t NEED to, but forcing an uneven trade (or forcing Dempster into the rotation) just because he makes way more than a long man wouldn’t doesn’t really make the team better.

Denny Doyle
1 year 7 months ago

What does Doubront’s salary have to do with Dempster’s? Dempster is paid too much for bullpen period. If 7mil can get you Balfour, and you can find a team that needs a starter, by all means move Dempster and reallocate the money somewhere else. Also, Red Sox have plenty of options at Triple A when they need a starter.

dc21892
1 year 7 months ago

He will be more than a long man. He will get his share of starts, because players will go down with injuries.

Nick Costanza
1 year 7 months ago

If anybody actually wants Dempster and is willing to pay a decent amount I don’t think that can be turned down.

RC23
1 year 7 months ago

exactly.

Steve_in_MA
1 year 7 months ago

First of all, we will (by mid-season) have 4 kids in Pawtucket all looking for MLB start opportunities (i’m building in an Owens promotion). Next, Workman is a starter. He got by as a reliever this past year, but he depends on working the plate, often needing to get swings and misses on pitches off the plate, in addition to power pitches, in order to be successful. He doesn’t project well over the long-term in the pen. That’s why our development staff developed him as a starter. And then there is the issue of our current AAV, which stands at something like $187MM; right up against the tax limit. That means we now have zero budgetary flexibility for signing guys in response to an injury, or for a mid-season addition to bolster for another playoff run.
We need to drop at least one salary in excess of $10MM. That’s Dempster, Peavy or Lackey. If we were to trade Lackey, he would bring us a boatload of talent in return. He comes with a built-in $15MM payroll discount. That’s worth two top prospects. Dempster or Peavy would not bring such a return, but would free us from the logjam for starts, and give us much needed payroll flexibility. Pretty much, one of them has to go prior to opening day.

hediouspb
1 year 7 months ago

the sox can now go over that number for a year or two without much of a penalty and then get back under again. going over for a run at another ring would’t be that bad.

Steve_in_MA
1 year 7 months ago

Not correct under the new CBA. There is a huge penalty for going over the tax line. And its not the tax, itself. Everyone subject to the luxury tax forfeits a share of the TV revenue kickback money. Going over the tax line means we lose $40-50MM in revenue sharing. Its completely untenable to do so.

hediouspb
1 year 7 months ago

which is why they need to get under the number. they would be paying double the amount if they keep their tax percentage. without going under they lose even more.

Sal
1 year 7 months ago

I saw an item from one of the Boston writers that Lackey’s option for the league minimum does not transfer over if he is traded. Lackey is a better option to start with the Sox for that reason.

Steve_in_MA
1 year 7 months ago

Not correct, as far as has been disclosed. While the precise terms of the contract are never released, there has never been a statement by any party that the contract is not freely transferrable as written. Anything you saw, if written, would be speculation against the norm that the contracts of MLB players are transferrable as written.

Bob Bunker
1 year 7 months ago

You are right its a FINE arrangement but not the best possible one. Ideally they would trade Dempster to whoever is willing to eat the most of his salary to clear up payroll space for trades and maybe bringing back Drew. Then they would still have Workman, Morales, and Britton in the pen and have Workman and all the AAA guys available for spot starts.

In my mind Workman, AAA guys are all better options than Dempster at this point.

bjsguess
1 year 7 months ago

Not only are there more closers than openings – none of the closers are “safe” bets. You are talking about older guys (Balfour, Nathan, Benoit), inconsistent guys (Rodney), relatively unproven guys (Mujica), or injury guys (Wilson). Pretty safe bet that if Johnson were on the open market he would have netted more than $10M/season. Same goes for guys like Kimbrel or Chapman. They’d both haul in huge contracts if FA’s.

I do think it’s fair to say that teams are being more cautious about throwing around big bucks for guys who have a few question marks.

RC23
1 year 7 months ago

2/15 for Balfour is fairly reasonable in this market. O’s FO does something good.

James F
1 year 7 months ago

Yeah no, the Sox won’t trade Lackey. The 500k he’ll make in 2015 sounds too good to let go.

Evan
1 year 7 months ago

I just saw on Cot’s that he’ll make that if he misses “significant time.” Has Lackey already crossed that level of significance?

Scott Brewer
1 year 7 months ago

enduring tommy john surgery and missing over a season due to this injury would be put under the category of significant time.

dc21892
1 year 7 months ago

Yeah, the option triggered when he missed a full season with TJ. That deal is looking better now than it did in the first two years.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
1 year 7 months ago

Like any player they’d trade Lackey for the right price. The right price being far more than anyone would feel comfortable paying.

skandy1
1 year 7 months ago

that was the Astros not the Rockies

John Donovan
1 year 7 months ago

Lyles and Barnes were already with the Rockies by the time the Winter Meetings started.

skandy1
1 year 7 months ago

right you are John.

Kasey
1 year 7 months ago

Let’s sign Garza bring him to the Big A!

Matt Talbert
1 year 7 months ago

What teams could use pitching, especially ones that have money to spend: Mets (could use a good arm), Houston (always needs pitching and veteran leadership), Seattle maybe (and they have some mid tier prospects that could get it done), Cleveland seems to like to chance on veteran pitchers (you’d probably have to swallow a good % of the contract but there’s a need there).

Evan
1 year 7 months ago

First off, Doubront should not be touched b/c he is young, cheap & versatile. I also don’t like the idea of moving proven starters for complimentary pieces. Carp and one of the Lackey-Peavy-Dempster are expendable, but I just don’t think the Red Sox will get anything back in return of greater value in the short term. Maybe Carp + a starter for some mid-tier prospects in a salary dump and use that money to sign Choo or Tanaka, but why bother when we have a team capable of winning already.

Dale Pearl
1 year 7 months ago

Rosenthal has lost all credibility this season. Every team has an ace closer now adays and why is that? Because any pitcher can pretty much step in and throw 3 outs in a row 90% of the time. A ratio that just about any team will be happy with. Seriously… just about every team has a guy on their roster that is going to get between 20 and 35 saves. a few that are over pitched will get between 30 and 50. One or two will go over the 50 threshold and chances are they won’t even be signed by the same team at the end of the season.

Ishkabibble
1 year 7 months ago

Don’t know why Boston would want to trade Doubront. He’s 24, inexpensive and good. They do have an expendable piece in Dempster or Peavy. Worth noting, Workman, Ranaudo and possibly Webster, Barnes or even Owens (best pitching prospect in the organization) will all be knocking at the door.

TheL
1 year 7 months ago

I hope the market collapses on Santana so he can get signed by my Royals. Seriously, the guys ERA should go up anywhere else because of our ballpark and one of the best defenses in the game. He needs to be a Royal.

Steve_in_MA
1 year 7 months ago

Definitely so. What was the signing bonus amount given to the last two years’ top draft picks in the amateur draft? Hint, combined, they total less than $15MM.

Steve_in_MA
1 year 7 months ago

Asset value is not equal to fair market value, and therefore, irrelevant. FMV is equal to the price a willing buyer will pay a willing seller, both under no obligation to transact. The transactions between these parties is the best measure we have to go on as to what fair market value is. And that conclusion is bolstered by the trade value the Rays are seeking for David Price. They are asking for 3 top prospects or 2 plus an MLB-ready, everyday player. If Price is worth that value, then CLEARLY Lackey is worth 2 top prospects. He’s not an ace, as Price is, but still is a bona fide no. 2 starter with a huge pay discount built in.

Steve_in_MA
1 year 7 months ago

The Rays will eventually get their desired price for Price. He’s a guaranteed HOF’er. Someone will do the deal.

Lackey’s history before this year is irrelevant, since he had TJ surgery and made a complete comeback. Lackey’s 12-9, 3.52 ERA, +3.2 WAR, for 2013 was pretty comparable in value to the year that James Shields had for the Rays before the trade to KC. But Shields had 2 years remaining (options with escalators) at that time, for total salary cost of $23.5MM. Lackey, as of now, has 2 years remaining at a total cost of just $15.75MM. So, in essence, Lackey has a HIGHER trade value than James Shields did in 2012. I don’t think Wade was really a make or break piece in that deal, but more like an equalizer; the extra bit you throw on the scale to make the two sides level up. And yes, Lackey is worth 2 top prospects. We might have to throw an equalizer on the scale, but all the same, he’s a highly valuable trade asset.

Steve_in_MA
1 year 6 months ago

No, he’s proved he DOESN’T have any relevant injury or underperformance, AND he comes at a significant dollar discount to both fair value and Shields. I have not heard the Royals proclaim they overpaid for Shields and Davis. A prospect is just that, there is a chance of failure. Shields and Davis are proven commodities. Wil Myers may well turn out to be a bust, despite his first season with the Rays. Shields could win a CY and Davis could perform fantastically, making the prospects the Royals surrendered irrelevant. The equities of that trade are a long way from decided. But one thing remains true, Lackey is worth as much, if not more, than Shields was.